Special Report
Big Ideas in Education

Big Ideas for Confronting Racism in Education

September 23, 2020
v40 6BI DB SOC
Illustration by Jamiel Law
2020 has been a year like no other. The pandemic not only altered life as we know it, it also exposed the deep fault lines in our nation’s schools. The nation has also embarked on one of the largest movements in its history, as Black Lives Matter protests surged across the country over the brutal killing of George Floyd in May.

The reality is that a growing number of Americans are refusing to accept the existing inequities in this country, including in our education system. To wit: In a nationally representative survey, conducted by the EdWeek Research Center in June, 87 percent of teachers, principals, and district leaders agreed that Black students face higher rates of school discipline than their white peers due to discrimination.

But when EdWeek Research Center in August asked teachers if they had the training and resources they needed to teach an anti-racist curriculum, just 11 percent said they did. So, even as educators see the need to equalize and improve the educational experience for Black students, they might not have the tools or the support they need to address curriculum, practices, and policies that have long denied Black students the same opportunities to thrive as their white peers.

We appreciate and understand the dissonance. Which is why we chose to dedicate the entire Big Ideas special report to addressing anti-Black systemic racism in schools.

We’d like to hear how you’re working to create a better educational experience for our nation’s Black students by using #K12BigIdeas on Twitter or by emailing bigideas@educationweek.org.